I have been a very happy Oral-B (Braun) user for about the last 4 years. During that time I've gone through 2 of their higher-end brushes. I've never been one to bad-mouth Sonicare, because it's a good brush, but I just preferred the smaller size of the Oral-B, along with the pop-off brush heads. Now however, Sonicare has changed that with their new model, the Flexcare.
I purchased this model because it was recommended by a dentist who said that the new Flexcare is not just a new style of brush, but that it actually has a greatly improved brushing technology. So, I bought a brush online and proceeded to try it out. Wow.
After having used the Flexcare, it doesn't even seem possible to compare it to my old Oral-B (which is only a year old.) This brush actually seems 20 years more advanced, and that is not an exaggeration. It has a bit of a high-pitch to it which doesn't bother me, but the real story is in the vibration. The brush seems to work exponentially better with 80% less vibration; it's a dream to use. I actually get sad after it auto-shuts off after the brushing cycle, something that I wish it didn't do. Also, and perhaps most important, is that it feels like it cleans my teeth better than my Oral-B. After using the Flexcare for awhile, I went back to my old Oral-B, just to compare... As soon as I turned it on, I couldn't believe that I loved it so much, it felt like, and sounded like an antique in comparison.
The different brushing modes on the Flexcare are really nice, but there is a small problem with all your options. One thing I'd like to be able to do is to "program" the brush to do the 3-minute brushing mode every time by default (this mode does the brushing action and also the massage action.) However, whenever you place the brush back on the charger, it automatically resets back to the 2-minute brushing mode. Programming the brush for the mode that you like every time you pick it up is not hard, but it's really annoying. Sonicare: please fix this in later models.
This brush comes with 2 chargers, one for home (with the sanitizer) and a travel one (without a sanitizer.) It also comes with a brush head cover, and a travel pouch to put the wand in. These accessories will make traveling with my brush much more enjoyable. I've never understood why more electric toothbrush makers don't include or even make these accessories.
The pop-off brush heads (as compared to sonicare's old screw on heads) are fantastic and much better than the Oral-B pop-off ones. On my Oral-B I had to remove the brush head to wash out the gunk after brushing, but because the Sonicare brush heads are longer, very, very litle gunk gets in them. That was a pleasant surprise. Although, removing and attaching the brush head on the Flexcare wand requires a lot more force, which I don't like.
The U.V. sanitizer is a nice gadget, but who knows how useful it really is? In fact, there may even be some long-term immune system dangers by killing every bacteria/virus in sight, just like using anti-bacterial soap, but this is not the forum for that. I used the UV Sanitizer a few times, but I don't use it at all anymore because of what I believe to be a very real problem with all the anti-bacterial products out there these days. Although, based on the few times I did use it, I could see where its utilization on a daily basis would be cumbersome. If you brush twice a day, it becomes too much of a bother to remove the brush head every time and put it in the sanitizer. The brush head needs to be aligned perfectly in the sanitizer and the door closed and snapped gently. If you have big hands, putting the brush head into the sanitizer is more awkward, especially if you're using the large brush head (FYI: the brush heads come in 2 sizes, small and large, and one of each is included in the package.)
It's nice to see that Sonicare has FINALLY ditched the NiCad batteries and went to Li-ion batteries; what took so long? This change means that the brush will now run longer on a single charge, and won't develop a memory by leaving it on the charging stand. It's also the reason that the brush handle is now smaller which makes it more manageable.
As much as I love this brush, I do realize that the price Sonicare has marketed it at is exceedingly high. If I were to buy it again, I would save $20 and get the one without the U.V. sanitizer. Other than the high price and a little nitpicking on the brushing modes, I really couldn't be more pleased with this brush. Oral-B has a LONG way to go to catch up to this Sonicare model.
Update 29 November 07
The brush still continues to amaze me and I LOVE using it everyday. I've stopped using the charging station with the UV Sanitizer and I now only use the "travel charger" for everyday use at home. One nice benefit in changing to the very, very small travel charger was that I freed up some space on my bathroom counter, and the brush is easier to set down and pickup without the sanitizer being in the way. I can't understand one reviewer who said the brush doesn't sit right or balance well on the stand. Also, I have sensitive teeth and use a sensitive toothpaste, and the brushes' actions have not bothered me at all. I'd buy this brush again in a heartbeat.
Update 17 Nov 11
I've had this brush for just over 4 years and it has performed admirably, until today that is. Today it just died, completely dead. There must be something wrong with the brush because this should not have happened in only 4 years. I also don't keep it on the charging stand and only charge it when it needs it. It is very annoying to say the least. I will be buying another because I do love it, but at nearly a hundred bucks, I'm not happy about it at all... I've since adjusted my rating down a star because of this. I hope that you have better luck. By the way, my old old Braun brush that I talk about in this review? Yeah, it still works... just saying...